Insulin Resistance in Women

Posted Posted in Continuing Education, Homestudy, Nutrition

insulin-resistanceWhen you say “insulin,” most people think of diabetes. But problems with insulin go far, far beyond diabetes. In fact, science is just beginning to understand how important insulin is. Insulin throws many important switches in the body. In fact, some sources have gone so far as to refer to insulin as the master controller of health and disease. But the real problem is that so many of us have become resistant to insulin—we’ve developed a condition called insulin resistance, which is a concern not only because this condition is quite common, but also because it is associated with some of the biggest killers. This is the case because if cells, organs, and tissues become resistant to insulin, the pancreas responds by cranking out more insulin to compensate. And this can overwhelm the rest of the body, putting us at risk for a whole range of ailments besides diabetes: heart attacks, stroke, liver disease, certain cancers, and even declining cognitive function.

You are at the highest risk for developing this condition if you have a family history of type 2 diabetes or if you have suffered from gestational diabetes, hypertension, or are seriously overweight.

Women who tend to gain most of their weight around their abdomen, show less tolerance for insulin. Most are shocked when they learn they either already have the condition or are well on their way to developing it. Experts estimate that 25% of all Americans suffer from insulin resistance. We believe the percentage is much higher among peri-menopausal women. To assess risk, measure around the smallest part of the waist (don’t hold your stomach in!) and the biggest part of the hips. Divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement. A ratio bigger than 0.8 for women (or 1.0 for men) indicates that your abdomen is obese and you are at risk for developing insulin resistance.
The health effects of insulin resistance — also called Syndrome X — are dramatic. Besides leading directly to diabetes, it’s been implicated in heart disease, breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and many more diseases. It also often accompanies, and contributes to, related problems of hormonal imbalance such as adrenal fatigue.

Because insulin is one of the “major” hormones, it’s also impossible for your body to balance its “minor” hormones (estrogen, progesterone and testosterone among them) until your insulin metabolism is balanced first. To put it simply, if you have hot flashes and you are insulin resistant, it’s going to be nearly impossible to cure the hot flashes without first healing the insulin resistance.

The good news is that insulin resistance can be healed. What many women don’t realize is how nutrition is integrally connected to the web of hormonal balance. If you change your diet, you can change your hormones. This can be achieved by eating balanced meals, including complex carbohydrates and high quality protein and fats. You can regulate the insulin your body releases and keep estrogen and testosterone in balance.

To learn more about insulin resistances and other diabetic related issues check out our Homestudy Courses and Seminars.